I would like to inquire about the accurate usage of the word "rather". I Googled "i suggest rather" and "i rather suggest". They both were used before or after a verb. I am not sure if the usage after a verb is correct. For example:

Sam: I'd like to take this exam next year. John: I'd rather suggest that you take it this year.

Sam: I'd like to take this exam next year. John: I'd suggest rather that you take it this year.

Rather is adverb:

Quote from Cambridge dictionary: "We can put adverbs and adverb phrases at the front, in the middle or at the end of a clause".


I feel both sentences are correct, but the second usage of "rather" is not bold, it is lighter?

  • They mean two different things "I'd rather suggest..." means "My preference would be to suggest..." while "I'd suggest rather..." means "I'd suggest ... rather than that." For the first, a native speaker would probably simply say "I'd rather you ..." or "I suggest that you..." depending on how much actual authority the speaker has over the other person (If I had more authority, I'd say "I'd rather..." to make it more of a request vs. a suggestion.) In the second case, I'd probably use 'instead', err, instead. (this is all from the perspective of an AE speaker, from the US upper midwest. – danch Jun 8 '18 at 20:05
  • If you found the quote online, could you add a link to it? – user3169 Jun 9 '18 at 0:04

Looking into the Cambridge dictionary, I see both sentences are correct. The difference is in the intentions of the responder.

In the first sentence John expressed disapproval, in other words he expressed different opinion or preference. There is a kind of comparison between two opinions, example:

Sam: I'd like to wear the white shoes for this festival. John:No, I’d rather wear the black shoes.

However, " suggest that..." after "rather" is a polite way to introduce an opinion. Instead, John may respond more boldly and directly:

Sam: I'd like to take this exam next year. John: I'd rather take it this year.

In the second sentence John have not expressed different opinion, he just shared his opinion as "very" or "to a large degree", example:

I did rather well in my exams.

I've got rather a lot of work to do at the moment.

He boobed rather badly by getting her name wrong.

I think my husband is the most handsome man in the world, but I realize my

judgment is rather subjective.

I've had a sort-out in the bedroom - it's looking rather better.

I heard something rather worrying at work this morning.

Jane has rather a sharp tongue, I'm afraid.

The correct usage of "rather" in the second sentence is to be included between parentheses"", in this case rather will be inserted in the sentence as an explanation.

For instance, I'd suggest, rather, that..." was mentioned in this ebook.

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The first usage is totally correct although I have never heard the word order "suggest rather".

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  • But the first means something that was almost certainly not what was intended. – Colin Fine Apr 25 at 23:34

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